THE remarkable story of how three people informed the world that the 1916 Rising had commenced was recalled at a poignant ceremony on Valentia Island this Sunday.
A special plaque was unveiled to commemorate brothers Eugene and Tim Ring, Valentia Island, and Rosalie Rice, Kenmare, who secretly sent a telegram from Valentia to New York on April 22, 1916.
The coded message read: ‘Tom, operated on successfully today – Margaret O’Sullivan’.
To the astonishment of the British authorities, the news of of the Proclamation reached New York and it gave great encouragement to the 1916 Rising heroes to know that their efforts on behalf of Ireland were not going unnoticed.
The Ring brothers, who worked at the Valentia Island Cable Station, possessed the key to the most sensitive intelligence regarding Ireland’s rebellion. Tim, a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, had been enlisted to ensure safe transmission of information between the rebels in Ireland and their collaborators in America.
On Easter Monday 1916, Kenmare Post Office worker Rosalie Rice, who was related to the brothers, brought word that the Rising had begun in Dublin and the brothers duly forwarded the message to Clan na nGael leader, John Devoy, in New York.
For their actions, Tim Ring was jailed in Frongoch, Wales and Eugene was held in Cahersiveen Barracks. Both lost their jobs as punishment.
This Sunday’s ceremony, directly opposite the Cable Station at Knightstown, Valentia Island, included a flag-raising ceremony by the Defence Forces and musical performances by the Valentia Pipe Band and children of the local national school.
Following a keynote address by Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Tim Buckley, a reception was held at the Royal Hotel, Valentia.
The nostalgic event was organised by Kerry County Council in close association with a local committee and the Valentia and Kenmare communities who remain very proud of the role played by the Ring brothers as Rosalie Rice.